Fresno and San Jose each held events in May to celebrate the contributions of Asian Pacific American workers in the labor movement. Fresno’s event was held on May 21 and San Jose’s was on May 28.
SEIU 521 members and their families came out for delicious food, traditional Pacific Island dances, and inspiring words at both events, the 3rd for Fresno and the 4th for San Jose. Attendance was diverse, with all ages and races represented.
“We invited everyone,” said Bella Barela, vice chairperson of the Fresno APALA caucus. “We’re celebrating our heritage, but you’re invited to come.”
The keynote speech in Fresno was delivered by Anthony Ishii, the top judge at the U.S. District Court in Fresno, which covers all of Eastern California. He said diversity is important because it expands the pool of potential leaders and ideas.
San Jose participants got to see a documentary by filmmaker Marissa Aroy, a 26-minute documentary featured on PBS. Aroy chronicles the history of Filipino laborers in California.